| Grandparents' Page
Diary of Forty-Three Years of Prayer
My father, Rabbi Shimon Schwab, left a daily diary spanning the last 43 years of
his life...43 volumes of fascinating, riveting and spellbinding entries. The most
stunning revelation is that it is replete with tefillos and tears, from cover to cover.
He wrote out his prayers for himself, for his family, for his community, for Klal
Yisroel. One can almost touch the tears that were poured there...a stream of
heart-wrenching tefillos that he formulated at every juncture, at moments of
difficulty, in his own life as well as others', pleading for G-d's mercy. This, perhaps
is the main function and chesed grandparents can perform for family, and for their
When do we start davening for our children? I found in his diary a piece of paper,
which he had written when his first grandchild was about to be born over 40 years
ago. He asked:
"Hashem, please lighten for my daughter, Yehudis Bas Rochel, the pain of
pregnancy and pain of childbirth. Let her be spared The Verdict of Eve (a
Kabbalistic concept). Let the child emerge into the light of the world without danger
to the mother, without danger to the child, in a good and blessed moment, for Mazel
Tov." And he continued to charter, in his tefilla, the entire life course of the child.
"Let there be a live birth, for a long life, to worship You, sincerely and completely,
in happiness. The child should serve You in good physical health, and good mental
health for a long and peaceful life with good parnassa to support himself with
The whole life of the child was chartered, before the child was ever even born.
Tefilla is a tremendous source of strength of grandparents - nay, a duty and
responsibility of grandparents - on behalf of their family.
My father's tefilla for his grandchildren was intense. On the evening before one of
his great-grandchildren was involved in a car accident, my father had a dream that
was most disturbing. He arose in middle of the night and said Tehillim and special
tefillos until 5 a.m., and then prepared himself for shul. Later that day, he received a
call from his granddaughter who asked him whether her husband should say a
Birchas Hagomel, thanking G-d for saving their son's life, since the boy was
involved in a car accident the previous evening. He was side spread, thrown a long
distance, and landed on the pavement. The boy picked himself up, and after being
checked out at the hospital, was released.
My father asked for all the exact details, and then chuckled and said, "now I
understand," and told his granddaughter that he had a dream, and Baruch Hashem
his tefillos were answered. In his diary on that very morning he inscribed the words
that we can read today:
"Chalomos Shov Yedabeiru," which means: "Dreams speak falsely," not wanting to
attribute any significance to the dream or to his premonition. Rather, he emphasized
that dreams carry little importance, and true significance lies in constant tefilla of
parents and grandparents for their offspring: those holy words and thought that will
envelop the children at all times. May the zchus of the parents and grandparents
who include their children and grandchildren in their prayers always stand by their
offspring and by all of Klal Yisroel.
Excerpted With Permission from The Jewish Observer, A Monthly Journal of Thought and
Opinion, Published by Agudath Israel